To the Pharisees the Savior declared, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”1
To not walk in darkness and to have the light of life—what a marvelous promise to us during these trying times prior the Savior’s Second Coming of Jesus Christ! Assuming we don’t want to walk in darkness, we should ask ourselves: how may I obtain the light of life? What am I willing to do to obtain it? What am I willing to stop doing to invite it? Living the gospel is not only a question of doing or not doing certain things, but above all a matter of becoming more like our Savior. “Just as vital as what you do, . . . is who you are and who you are becoming.”2
Many who understand the importance of doing the right things in the Church may fail to understand the importance of doing them for the right reasons, with real intent. The Lord who knows the thoughts and intents of our heart, knows to what degree our gospel observances are motivated by a deep sense of love for Him, by a broken heart and contrite spirit and by a true desire to become more like Him. When the Lord appeared to young Joseph in the Sacred Grove, he pointed out that many Christians of that day “draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts far from me having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”3
To the early Saints in Palestine the Savior extended this invitation: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”4 After appearing to the Nephites in the Western Hemisphere, He clarified what holding up our light really means: “I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do.”5
Accordingly, we read in Preach My Gospel, chapter 6: “The restored gospel enables you to become like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The Savior has shown the way. He has set the perfect example, and He commands us to become as He is (see 3 Nephi 27:27). Learn of Him and seek to incorporate His attributes into your life. Through the power of His Atonement, you can achieve this goal and lead others to achieve it also.”6
The Light of Christ is obtained line upon line and precept upon precept as we joyfully repent daily and apply the atoning sacrifice of our Savior in our lives. This Light of Christ finds expression in our being through the various promised spiritual gifts and reaches us as a tender mercy through the grace of God. The Savior said, “Learn of me, and listen to my words,”7 so let us now turn to the Christlike attributes mentioned in Preach My Gospel, chapter 6, and briefly highlight each. I invite you to study this chapter carefully because receiving the Light of Christ into our lives is impossible without becoming more like our Savior and emulating His character as much as possible.
Faith in Jesus Christ: “When you have faith in Christ, you believe in Him as the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. . . .
“Faith leads to action, including repentance, obedience, and dedicated service. When you have faith in Jesus Christ, you trust the Lord enough to follow His commandments—even when you do not completely understand the reasons for them. You accomplish what the Lord wants you to accomplish.”8
Hope: “Hope is an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises to you. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance. It is believing and expecting that something will occur. When you have hope, you work through trials and difficulties with the confidence and assurance that all things will work together for your good.”9
Charity and Love: “When you are filled with charity, you obey God’s commandments and do all you can to serve others and help them receive the restored gospel.
Virtue: “Virtue originates in your innermost thoughts and desires. It is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards. Since the Holy Ghost does not dwell in unclean tabernacles, virtue is prerequisite to receiving the Spirit’s guidance. What you choose to think and do when you are alone, and you believe no one is watching is a strong measure of your virtue.”11
Knowledge: “Seek knowledge, especially spiritual knowledge. Study the scriptures every day, and also study the words of the living prophets. Through study and prayer, seek help for your specific questions, challenges, and opportunities.”12
Patience: “Patience is the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious. It is the ability to do God’s will and accept His timing. When you are patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully. Patience is related to hope and faith—you must wait for the Lord’s promised blessings to be fulfilled.”13
Humility: “Humility is willingness to submit to the will of the Lord and to give the Lord the honor for what is accomplished. It includes gratitude for His blessings and acknowledgment of your constant need for His divine help. Humility is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of spiritual strength.”14
Diligence: “Diligence is steady, consistent, earnest, and energetic effort in doing the Lord’s work. The Lord expects you to work diligently—persistently and with great effort and care.”15
Obedience: “Obedience is the first law of heaven. It is an act of faith.”16 Also consider the following teaching from the Book of Mormon: “And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?”17
C.S Lewis, a British writer and lay Anglican theologian, once remarked, “It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.”18 My hope and prayer for us is that we will want to prepare ourselves to one day see God by calling down the powers of heaven to aid us in overcoming the natural man by becoming men and women of Christ.
Brothers and sisters, we are blessed to be led by a prophet of God. President Russell M. Nelson, the Savior’s mouthpiece on earth in our current time, recently taught how we may become more faithful followers of Jesus Christ, the Light of Life:
“The question for each of us . . . is the same. Are you willing to let God prevail in your life? Are you willing to let God be the most important influence in your life? Will you allow His words, His commandments, and His covenants to influence what you do each day? Will you allow His voice to take priority over any other? Are you willing to let whatever He needs you to do take precedence over every other ambition? Are you willing to have your will swallowed up in His?”19
I close by joining my testimony with the testimony of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from The Living Christ:
“We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.”20